Countdown to Kintyre
|20/03/2011||Filled under England, family, Kintyre|
According to news reports we now follow, the Type 22 Frigate, HMS Campbeltown, made a farewell visit to the Wee Toon this week, her last before she is sent for decommissioning. The event required firing of guns across the loch in salute, something we would have loved to have been there to see and hear. The moment of her departure might even have been captured on the Campbeltown webcam if it had been possible to swing it in the right direction, across the loch to the naval pier – bah!
Then over in Machrihanish on the west coast there is news that the windfarm proposal has now been dropped and also that the wind turbine tower manufacturing plant may have been saved from bankruptcy, both of these items being very good news for the local community.
As our focus turns ever more towards our new home the last week in Yeovil proved a tough one indeed. It seems as though our lives are on hold as we get everything ready then sit around waiting for the moment of departure. It is at times like this that I almost wish I was still amongst the ranks of the employed as this would at least provide a distraction until the day actually arrived. It occurs to me that in the past this is always the way things have in fact worked out, that over the years our numerous house moves around England have been initiated by the need to follow employment, usually mine I have to say, and not therefore really driven by free choice. This time, however, things are different. At last we are embarking on a venture to a place we ourselves have chosen, with no outside influences.
This is not to say we have made anything like a snap decision to live in a remote part of Scotland; far from it. From the moment we decided to live on board Cirrus Cat we knew we had started down a particular road – we had temporarily freed ourselves from the constraints of the house-on-land concept of living and thus has started a process which we both secretly knew would end at some point in us choosing another home location where we could settle. Although neither of us ever stated this as an objective, from the moment we retired from work and floated our boat-home downstream from London we were embarking on a search for that new life. The mental process was a fluid one which took place as we moved from place to place, following the coast of Britain in an anticlockwise direction, stopping here and there as the weather or our inclination dictated, but always there at the back of our minds was the question, ‘Could we live here?’
Scotland’s magnetism has taken us both a little by surprise, but in different ways. For Kate there is the blood, which comes to her from her Scottish father, the memories of childhood holidays spent in the Western Isles and the nationality she has always felt herself to be, Scottish. A little later in my life I discovered Scotland as a mountaineer and rock climber and returned time and again in winter and summer to clamber over many of its peaks and valleys. But new to us both was the opportunity to see the country from a different angle, the sea, and also new was the chance to spend more time there, beginning to integrate ourselves into the culture that makes the place so special. We began to feel we were no longer just visitors, despite our being yachties, normally a transitory group, and whilst travelling about the Western Isles and the Clyde we were getting glimpses of something else, a way of life that was enticing us, drawing us in. Trying to describe what was doing this is difficult. There is a sense of confident self-sufficiency plus a very trusting nature about the people who choose to live in remote places and these are traits we admire. We think we can expect those living in Carradale to be there because they want to. We need to be prepared for the fact that few drive along the road to Carradale to go anywhere else.
Counting down to our removal day, Kate’s brother Peter and his wife Liz have arrived to lend us a hand. They are planning to live here in Yeovil when we are gone so this is an opportunity for them to see and admire our freshly refurbished property. They seem impressed.
We rope them in for transportation duties so we can dump essential equipment on board Cirrus Cat in her boatyard across the border into Cornwall then finally our removal day arrives and they help with the loading. Here Peter stands back in a calculating sort of way finding it hard to believe that we have, finally, managed to get everything to fit in. Hiring the largest van that we can legally drive on British roads was always going to be a calculated gamble but so long as we can persuade it to go along ‘the long and winding road’ to Carradale then it will have paid off for us. Thank you Mr Hertz.
One way or another, the next blog entry will come from north of the border.